What do Democrats in Carson City have to show for past three months? Not much.
Having regained majorities in both houses during the 2016 election, legislative Democrats have spent a good deal of the current session fostering a hyper-partisan atmosphere by attempting to repeal modest GOP collective bargaining and education reforms passed two years ago. With less than a month left before adjournment — and a Republican governor wielding his veto pen — they seem stuck in some sort of progressive time tunnel.
But to further distract voters from their dismal record, state Democrats now appear intent on pursuing an effort to embarrass GOP Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
On Tuesday, Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, the Las Vegas Democrat who chairs the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, called for a hearing to discuss a secret recording of a conversation last year between Mr. Laxalt and A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The discussion apparently involved the attorney general asking the board to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Las Vegas Sands in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
In an affidavit, Mr. Burnett — who taped the conversation without Mr. Laxalt’s knowledge — said he felt that acquiescing to the request would have imperiled the integrity of gaming regulators and damaged the reputation of the state.
Democrats have seized on the issue because Mr. Laxalt is considered the front-runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2018. Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, has previously donated money to Mr. Laxalt’s political endeavors. Mr. Adelson’s family also owns this newspaper.
Mr. Laxalt’s office issued a statement saying he was simply engaging in a “routine action that previous attorneys general” had taken. Jim Wheeler, a Republican who represents Gardnerville in the Assembly, called the controversy “political bullshit” and a “witch hunt” that threatens to “waste taxpayer dollars.”
This much is clear: Mr. Burnett turned over this recording to the FBI, which “advised there appeared to be no criminal violations,” he said in his affidavit. But state Democrats continued to bomb email inboxes last week with a flurry of releases designed to wound Mr. Laxalt through rumor and innuendo.
Maggie Carlton and her committee are now in possession of the tape featuring the conversation between Mr. Laxalt and Mr. Burnett. The issue has been bouncing around for months. Ms. Carlton should publicly release the tape’s contents — immediately. Let the residents of Nevada hear what was said and determine for themselves what it does or doesn’t represent.